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Puako Petroglyph Preserve

 

Puako Petroglyph Preserve on the Big Island of Hawaii is the site of more than 3000 petroglyphs,  lava rock carvings etched into stone centuries ago by native Hawaiians.   The meanings of the petroglyphs are not known, but it’s generally believed the carvings recorded births and other significant events in the lives of the people who lived on the island.    Some of the petroglyphs are believed to be over 1000 years old and thankfully are in surprising good condition given their exposure to the elements over the ages.

Petroglyph, Puako, Big Island, Hawaii.
Petroglyph, Puako, Big Island, Hawaii.

Whilst the human form appears fairly obvious in some petroglyphs, in others the meaning is rather more puzzling.

Petroglyph, Puako, Big Island, Hawaii. (2)
Petroglyph, Puako, Big Island, Hawaii. (2)

Many of the petroglyphs are remarkably well preserved given centuries of exposure to wind and rain.  Fortunately the walking trails are well marked so there’s no excuse for people treading on the rock art.

Petroglyph, Puako, Big Island, Hawaii. (3)
Petroglyph, Puako, Big Island, Hawaii. (3)

Seeds and bark fibres gather on some of the carvings (maybe people have deliberately scattered them as well) to show the relief in the stone.

Walking trail, Puako, Big Island, Hawaii.
Walking trail, Puako, Big Island, Hawaii.

The trail leads through a kiawe forest which I found had a rather mysterious, haunting, quality to it.   I decided that a high contrast,  toned monochrome treatment worked best for the photo.

Petroglyph field
Petroglyph field

At the end of the trail there is an open lava rock field,  about the size of a basketball court,  with hardy grasses growing through the cracks in the rock amongst the numerous carvings.

Petroglyph surrounded by stones, Puako, Big Island, Hawaii.
Petroglyph surrounded by stones, Puako, Big Island, Hawaii.

For visitors to the Big Island,  Puako Petroglyph Preserve is located on the South Kohala coast near Mauna Lani Resort and is easily accessed.     ~KD.